Ably Bed for Reducing Falls and Pressure Ulcers in Hospitalized Seniors

Two female nurses turning a patient in a hospital bed.

Award Date: 2017

Project Lead(s): Alexandra Papaioannou

Project Title: Ably bed

What is the issue?

Hospital beds are essential for providing healthcare services and patient recovery. They can also contribute to serious injuries, such as pressure ulcers and falls, especially among older adults living with dementia. Moving patients in and out of hospital beds increases the risk of injuries for hospital staff.

What did we do?

The Ably Bed is a next-generation hospital bed that uses technology and machine learning to help prevent falls and pressure ulcers in patients and reduce the burden of care on healthcare staff. Motion springs allow for movement to support patient treatment and assist healthcare workers. A sensor system continuously monitors patients’ heart rates, breathing rates, weight, and movement patterns to prevent critical situations.

For our project, the Ably Medical AS team worked with medical professionals and patients at Ontario hospitals to design a bed that met their specific needs. The participating hospitals were Hamilton Health Sciences’ GERAS Centre for Aging Research, Southlake Regional Health Centre, Mackenzie Health, and West Park Healthcare Centre.

We conducted studies to validate the design and usability of the Ably bed concept. Medical professionals provided feedback on prototype beds. We collected motion capture data, qualitative feedback, and testimonials. We also held workshops to understand Canadian hospitals’ challenges, learn about the user interface and the needs and routines of healthcare workers, and analyze sick-leave numbers and costs. Finally, we held meetings with stakeholders to foster collaboration for market adoption. The stakeholders included Ably Medical, Innovation Norway, Norway Health Tech, Hamilton Health Sciences’ GERAS Centre for Aging Research, MaRS EXCITE, and the Norwegian embassy in Canada. Results from interviews with buyers informed business model development.

What did we find?

Healthcare professionals said the Ably bed had promising potential for reducing falls and pressure ulcers in patients. They also felt it would reduce the physical and mental burden of care for nurses. Healthcare providers indicated they had the necessary resources and knowledge to use the bed and would use it when available.